Shortly before Christmas an American professor from the respected, Catholic university of Notre Dame posted on the Internet what he believes to be an authentic memorandum, dated November 14 1986, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to his brother, Salim Saleh.
The document (posted at www.musevenimemo.org) describes a low-altitude flight that Museveni allegedly took over the north of the country that he had just begun to rule. It states that “we must assume full control of the fertile lands. It will be necessary, therefore, to find a way to drastically reduce the population.” Elsewhere, the memo describes the local, Acholi people as “chimpanzees.”
A commentary I recently contributed to The Guardian (London), arguing that awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was unlikely to advance the cause of peace in China, drew many predictable ripostes from readers on the Guardian site, and some further flurries of bemused contempt in the China-punditry blogosphere (eg, here). It’s ironic how unwilling so many Western liberals are to hear dissenting voices in their own communities, and depressing how a technologically expanded “public sphere” so soon fills up with sound and fury signifying rather little.
Published (with some edits that are omitted here) on the website of The Guardian(London) on November 29 2010.
It is hard to imagine a more evil man than Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who heads the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and President Obama’s new strategy for rooting him out has won praise from US activists who campaigned vigorously for “the humanitarian use of force” in the region.
Yet the pledge to "apprehend or remove from the battlefield Joseph Kony and senior commanders [of the LRA]" in fact contains little that is new, risks fanning the dying embers of the conflict, and perpetuates US efforts at geopolitical steering of Africa.
Why, at the same time as slashing £81 billion off public spending by cutting welfare allowances and shedding half a million jobs, has Britain’s Conservative-Liberal government pledged to keep increasing aid abroad?
Delegates gathering in New York this week to discuss progress on Millennium Development Goals that were agreed in 2000 will hear calls for redoubling efforts to meet 2015 targets, given evidence that many countries, including Uganda, are not ‘on track.’
It is good to see a debate about the extent to which Uganda can learn from China unfolding in the Daily Monitor’s pages. (Editorial, August 25; James Kahoza’s Comment, September 7). This reflects the growing, and essentially positive, feeling that Africa now has wider development opportunities than in recent decades.
But the Chinese would be the first to point out that their renaissance has derived from a determination to find their own path, through an experimental process of ‘feeling the stones to cross the stream.’ This has, certainly, involved learning from others: but selectively so, adapting lessons to the Chinese context, rather than importing ‘models’ wholesale.
A few pleasant days in London entertaining small grandsons—chasing pigeons in the park, stamping in puddles, riding on trains and buses—are marred only by occasional incivility, which first surfaces at the London Transport Museum.